Everyday life in the far outposts of empire can be static, empty of the excitement of progress. A pervading sense of banality and boredom are, therefore, common elements of the daily experience for people living on the colonial periphery. Saikat Majumdar suggests that this impoverished affective experience of colonial modernity significantly shapes the innovative aesthetics of modernist fiction. Prose of the World explores the global life of this narrative aesthetic, from late-colonial modernism to the present day, focusing on a writer each from Ireland (James Joyce), New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield), South Africa (Zoe Wicomb), and India (Amit Chaudhuri). Ranging from Joyces deflated epiphanies to Chaudhuris disavowal of the grand spectacle of postcolonial national narratives, Majumdar foregrounds the banal as a key instinct of modern and contemporary fictionone that nevertheless remains submerged because of its antithetical relation to literatures intuitive function. Majumdar forces us to rethink the assumption that banality merely indicates an aesthetic failure. If narrative is traditionally enabled by the tremor, velocity, and excitement of the event, the historical and affective lack implied by the banal produces a narrative force that is radically new precisely because it suspends the conventional impulses of narration.
- Publication Date:
- 22 / 01 / 2013